Christmas in Cologne, Germany

Welcome to the 465th Metamorphosis Monday!

Merry Christmas! Since Met Monday falls on Christmas Day this year, I’m putting this post up a bit early. I guess my Before and After this week is a travel one since I’m spending Christmas in a way I’ve never done before: floating down the Rhine River stopping every so often to visit the Christmas Markets and historic sites we find along the way.

The Christmas Markets have all closed now, but our program director has said there will be additional markets to shop in  later during this trip. Forgotten where those are now…maybe Heidelberg. For this Met Monday I thought I’d share a few photos from the Christmas Markets we visited while in Cologne. Photography is a bit of a challenge because even during these last few days before Christmas, the markets have been packed. I was surprised to find them even busier at night than during the daytime.

The markets we visited in Cologne were literally at the foot of the awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral. The Cathedral is the 4th largest cathedral in the world and you can see just how massive it is in this photo below from Wikipedia. Our guide said it took 632 years to complete it with additional sections being added on by successive generations, all working from the original master plan. Each generation did their very best to not deviate at all from the original plan, staying true to its original design. The cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites in 1996.

Cathedral in Cologne

Photo from Wikipedia Common

I tried to take a photo looking upward toward the top of the cathedral to convey just how massive it is, but there’s just no way to capture it in a photo. Standing in front of it, it felt very intimidating and a bit scary. You feel like a tiny ant at the f00t of a massive giant.Cologne Cathedral, December 2017

 

A few of the Cologne Christmas markets are set up at the base of the cathedral as seen in this photo below.

Photo from: koelnerweihnachtsmarktdotcom

You can see the cathedral there in the background. Our guide said that it’s under continuous maintenance, so there’s always scaffolding up somewhere. It looked very dirty and black during our visit, the result of pollution per our guide. They had cleaned the dirt off in a few places and it looked so much prettier in those areas. It must be breathtaking to see when it’s all clean.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 04

 

All the entrances to the Christmas Markets are really whimsical and fun. This market had a gnome theme and it was adorable! The whole time I was shopping in this market, I felt like I had entered into a secret Gnome village.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 05

 

If you’ve been following BetweenNapsOnThePorch on Instagram, you saw this photo when I posted it there. (If you’re not following, you can do that here: Between Naps On The Porch on Instagram.)

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 08

 

In addition to selling all kinds of German goods and toys, the markets have a “festival” feel. There was even a Ferris Wheel.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 09

 

One of the large trees was filled with big red hearts. Later in the evening after dark, the hearts were all lit and it was truly beautiful to see.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 07

 

I really loved all the traditional decorations inside the Christmas markets!Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 06

 

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 22

 

The food was insane! I had a bratwurst hotdog and it was yummy! Later I had pork on a tall skewer. I managed to resist the sweets, though it was hard!

Desserts, Christmas Market, Cologne Germany

 

I did enjoy a couple of mugs of Glühwein. It was very warming and quite tasty! I should have taken a photo of the adorable mug it came in, it’s super cute, depicting a Gnome sewing on the front. 🙂

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 21

 

After touring the markets during the day, we walked back to the ship to drop off packages and rest a few minutes. Afterwards we headed back out to see the Christmas markets lit up at night. Some friends I’ve made on this trip took this photo as we were walking back to the market that night.

Did you notice I’m not wearing the down coat I purchased for this trip? A day or two before I left, I kept Googling the weather in Germany. All the forecasts showed fairly mild weather with occasional rain and temps in the mid to upper 40’s. I knew I’d be way too hot in a down coat, so I decided to pack just as I had for my trip to Ireland.

What has worked perfectly for this trip is the old standby of “layering.” Whenever in doubt, layer! Each day I wear THESE fleece lined tights, jeans or jeggings, socks over the tights with boots, a flannel shirt or turtleneck, a pullover sweater and my Barbour rain coat. I found wool sweaters work better than cotton ones, they keep your upper arm area nice and warm in a rain coat.

I purchased the wool hat with pompom (that I’m wearing in the photo below) in one of the Christmas Markets. It’s cozy and warm. If it starts to rain or mist, I can pull my coat’s hood up over the hat. That works out great because the hood is a bit big to wear alone, but over the wool hat it’s the perfect fit. This is probably always going to be my go-to clothing plan when traveling where it will be cold and rainy, but not freezing.

Cologne Germany, December 2017

 

While walking toward the markets we spied Santa relaxing with a beer and checking his list one more time in this sidewalk cafe.

Santa Checking His List Twice, Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017

 

The Cologne Christmas Markets were even more beautiful after dark.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 14

 

They are a magical, fairy land at night, so much prettier than I can really share in photos.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 13

 

Christmas decorations are on a grand scale like nothing you’ve ever seen before!

Decorations, Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany

 

I loved all the lanterns hanging in the trees.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 18

 

They all appeared to have flickering flames and it was really beautiful!

HA! Just noticed the sign and the gnome with his legs held tightly together. The people of Cologne have a great sense of humor!

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 19

 

The entrance to one of the markets lit up at night…

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 16

 

I loved these skiing gnomes! The roofs of the buildings made great gnome ski slopes. 🙂

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 15

 

Gnomes were riding around and around on this Gnome Ferris Wheel.

Christmas Markets, Cologne Germany, December 2017 17

 

This trip was definitely a “bucket-list” trip for me, one I’ve wanted to take for several years. It has completely lived up to my expectations, thus far. The lovely places we’ve visited along the Rhine River have been the stuff of fairy tales, truly enchanting!

Castle spotting along the Rhine is another fun past-time during a Rhine River Cruise. Another bucket list item for me is a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, so I’m sure Germany will lure me back this way again some day.

Cologne Christmas Markets

Photo from: koelnerweihnachtsmarktdotcom

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, dear Friends!

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Comments

  1. DON’T resist those baked goods. You will walk it off but it’s a shame to miss out on them. Merry Christmas and don’t catch cold!

  2. Jane Franks says:

    Wow! You’ve managed to see a lot Susan, so far, and it does look delightful! Thanks for sharing. A very Merry Christmas to you from back over here across the Pond! Love, Jane xo

  3. ELIZABETH L GLASS says:

    Merry Merry Christmas Susan! Love,Elizabeth Yorktown,Virginia

  4. Susan,
    I’m so happy you are having a wonderful time. There is nothing like Germany during the holidays. You can buy Gluhwein here in the states. We enjoy it during the holidays!
    We are in Georgia visiting our son and the weather has been yucky
    Have a great trip and eat a bratwurst for me!

  5. Bunny Rogers says:

    I lived in Heidelberg for 5 years of my childhood. I remember it well even though it has been many years ago. My mother went wild with buying Christmas decorations when we lived there and every year I enjoy putting them out for all to enjoy. Sounds like you are really enjoying your holiday and you certainly haven’t missed the crazy Atlanta traffic, especially at this time of year. Hope you got out of there before the massive power outage at Hartsfield! Merry Christmas from Bunny.

  6. What a magical, Christmas adventure for you. Thank you for sharing the details with us. I loved seeing the cathedral from your perspective and even the funny gnome sign is a cute detail. You have a knack for making us feel like we’re almost with you. Enjoy your trip and Merry Christmas.

  7. Dawne Marie says:

    This is fab! Wow, wow, wow. Thank you for sharing. Can wait for more.

  8. Took a river cruise down your same path a couple years ago, but not at Christmas time. It was wonderful and would do it again in a heartbeat. A trip including the Christmas markets look amazing. I might just have to take it again but at Christmas. How beautiful and what fun.
    Merry Christmas.

  9. Too funny that you got the down coat only to leave it at home! LOL. Be Prepared, and you were. The cathedral is gorgeous, were you able to go inside? You are in the perfect place to buy new decorations for your new Christmas tree. Something your grandsons may like is an ornament made out of wood, that is painted and is like a jumping jack. You hold the ribbon on top of his head, then pull the string that goes thru his body, his arms and legs move up and down like he is doing jumping jacks. They come in different characters, the Nutcracker, clown, Pinocchio, etc. Cute, unique, colorful, and my boys treasured theirs. A real one direct from Germany would be a perfect gift. Merry Christmas Susan. Hugs, MaryEllen

  10. Tina Carpenter says:

    Stunning! Wishing you a very safe & a very Merry Christmas! Tina, Benson, Arizona

  11. Ann E Seigman says:

    Oh Susan, you look so cute in your new hat! I am happy that you are having a good time and that you left your warmest coat at home. From what I had remembered of Germany, the winters weren’t as severe as they can be here in Ohio. You were so smart to do layering. You look adorable!

    Merry Christmas! Ann

  12. Oh, Susan, the markets look as spectacular as I expected they would! Have a wonderful time; please test out the pastries: they look FABULOUS!! Loved your photo! What special memories you are making. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. Merry Christmas!

  13. The warmest Merriest Christmas dear Susan! What a beautiful place to be visiting. Thank you for sharing. My grandmothers family was from Germany but it was a few generations back. Obviously it is magical there. We may get a few flurries here tonight but a better chance Thursday. Hugs from Tennessee. Nancy A

  14. Merry Christmas from Idaho, Susan!
    Love your Christmas Market photos and the cathedral is amazing! Thanks so much for taking the time to share them. Can’t wait to see what treasures you’re collecting! Have a wonderful rest of your trip!

  15. Merry Christmas Susan! Safe Travels!

  16. Glühwein! Heidelberg! Christmas Mart! You are hitting all the best of the season in Germany. Merriest of Christmases!

  17. Ann E Seigman says:

    Susan, I am so happy that you are enjoying your travels down the Rhine River. You look so adorable in your new hat! I think that it was smart of you to leave the down coat at home and to dress in layers. The winters were fairly mild when my husband and I lived in Germany. Not like the harsh winters that we sometimes have here in Ohio. Merry CHRISTmas and enjoy the remainder of your journey. Ann

  18. Merry Christmas, Susan! It looks like you are having a wonderful time soaking up all the scenery! Can’t wait till you get back home and show us all your trip souvenirs. In the meantime, stay warm and safe!

  19. Julie Belanger says:

    Thank you for sharing!! Enjoyed seeing the photos!! It looked so beautiful. What kind of things were they selling in the markets? Was it only Christmas ornaments & decorations?
    We bought a gorgeous solid white cuckoo clock with Kelly green numbers in Austria. They also had a white one with pretty pink numbers. It was hard decide which one. They were both made in Germany.
    Have you eaten any weiner schnitzel or beef goulash? What we had was absolutely delicious!!
    You are going to love Strasbourg. The food is outstanding. Our favorite was Alsace flambé. It’s like a pizza but so much better. Everything, I mean everything we ate in that area of France was the best food we have ever had! Even the salads were outstanding. They had green beans & potatoes in the salad but it was really good!!
    We stayed in Colmar instead of Strasbourg. We drove each day to 5 quaint villages that were so pretty and picturesque. I know you will love Kayserberg!!! Our favorite was Eguisheim bc of all the flowers in the windowboxes. We want to go back and see all of this again some day! Thank you for sharing!

  20. Your photos are gorgeous and I would love to take that trip! Perhaps next year. I was a little worried about your Canada Goose coat – they are very popular here in New England but mostly when it dips into the 20s. I am fine with layers and a down coat that cost 1/10 of the Canada Goose ones. Enjoy your trip and I agree with the others, don’t skip the sweets – German pastries are among the best.

  21. Great photos, looks like a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing and have a very Merry Christmas.

  22. donna a zoltanski says:

    What a beautiful time of year for your visit! Gorgeous pics. Enjoy and keep posting!

  23. Oh, wow, that looks like so much fun!!! So festive at night and beautiful!! I could do that kind of walking all day and night over there………….Merry Christmas Susan!! xoxoxo

  24. Cyndi Raines says:

    What fun and what great memories you are making! Knew you’d love the Rhine cruise, I sure did. Eat the pastries, you’ll walk it off. Love all the pictures, such great lights! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  25. Merry Christmas, Susan! I’m loving all your photos and descriptions. I wish you a blessed and fabulous trip! Thanks for sharing!

  26. rohe Weihnachten liebe Susan!!! franki

  27. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
    Thanks so much for hosting each week!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  28. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos! I’ve been to Cologne, and you are right about the cathedral. You just have to see it in person to appreciate it. Now you’ve made me want to experience the Christmas Market!

  29. Definitely go to Neuschwanstein Castle! It’s the most fairytale like castle in the world!

    Nice to read about your Christmas market trips. When will you be in Amsterdam?

    Merry Christmas!

    • Donna Bridges says:

      Neuschwanstein is a beautiful fairytale , beware though it’s a very very steep ascent . Take the horse drawn or bus to the car park. You still hav3 to climb but only a third. You’ll thank me one day.

  30. Susan:
    Thanks again as always for your interesting and detailed post about the Cologne Christmas Market. I have always wanted to visit but thanks to your blog, I can gain an idea about how wonderful it is! It is a shame that the beautiful cathedral is so darkened by pollution. I look forward to hearing about your favorite items from the various vendors. Have a wonderful trip and safe journey home.

  31. We lived just outside Cologne for a couple of years. Amazing area to visit anytime. We were able to visit many of the Christmas markets throughout Europe. They really are special and very worth while. Enjoy the rest of the trip and splurge on the food just a little. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  32. Love the photos and hints.

  33. Susan, Thank you for your post. I love seeing the Christmas markets?
    I did a Rhine Cruise last September. We loved the Cathedral in Cologne. It was cold and rainy the day we were there. It is incredible to see all the vendors set up in that area. It is larger than you think!
    I enjoy seeing your travels. We will be doing a Danube Cruise this April.

  34. Susan,
    Love the pics and hearing about your travels! You are blessed to go on so many of these excursions! I’m looking forward to Paris in June, but would love to see Germany one day.
    Looking forward to more pics and souvenirs you will be bringing home!
    Ann P.

  35. That’s one scary cathedral indeed. I can’t imagine how it feels to be right there. Anyway, thanks for sharing so much of your adventures, it was a lot of fun going through it!

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